Couples all over the country — and the world — are asking themselves tough questions about their impending weddings. Should we postpone? Should we marry now and celebrate later? Should we host a more intimate wedding celebration now? And on and on. The options and combinations are endless, from couples booking multiple future dates well into 2022 (their backup plans have backup plans) to couples saying “I do” in hastily-arranged, but heartfelt, affairs.
Andrea and Ethan were facing the same set of agonizing choices with their long-planned wedding date of June 27, 2020 rapidly approaching. The couple met in October of 2014 and became engaged four years later in 2018, so to say they had been eagerly anticipating their wedding day is an understatement. In addition to the couple’s wedding considerations, Andrea — like millions of frontline workers across the US — harbored an additional concern about having her wedding: potentially endangering her loved ones’ health. As a Connecticut physician’s assistant, she has devoted her every waking moment in recent months to helping others and to being by her patients’ sides when their families are unable.
Andrea’s mother, Wanda, decided to take action on behalf of her daughter and penned a letter to celebrity event planner and entertaining expert, David Tutera, asking for help. Wanda shared that Andrea “gets up every morning at 4:30…and does not return home until after 7:30 pm” from treating COVID-19 patients, calling her daughter “a warrior in scrubs.” Wanda wrote, “My daughter’s spirit is broken — not because she is now postponing her wedding, but because her wedding seems trivial compared to what is happening around her.” She describes Andrea’s compassion and shares that her daughter treats her patients and their families with dignity and grace, “especially in these most desperate times.”
Touched by this heartfelt message from a loving mother, Tutera decided to surprise Andrea and her groom-to-be, Ethan, with their dream wedding. From planning and execution to providing all of the elements the couple needed, Tutera and his team at David Tutera Planning and Design partnered with event inspiration and planning resource, PartySlate — as well as a team of amazing wedding vendors — to ensure that this special couple got the wedding ceremony of their dreams on the exact date of their original wedding: June 27, 2020.
In virtual planning sessions, the grateful couple met with Tutera’s team and members of PartySlate to refine their wedding vision utilizing an inspirational Idea Slate — PartySlate’s digital vision board tool that allows event hosts to save and organize ideas as well as link back to the full event albums and the event professionals who worked on those celebrations. Andrea and Ethan’s wedding design took shape with hues of peach and cream with touches of rich navy blue, a plan for a riot of texture and color to fill Andrea and Ethan’s backyard. Planning sessions included non-traditional — very of-these-times — discussions about backyard Wi-Fi, cameras, and angles for live streaming.
In one planning session, Ethan shared, “For our original wedding, we didn’t have anyone planning; Andrea did it all. Perhaps the biggest challenge for her will be giving up that control.” Andrea laughed and added, “I work in healthcare, so I’m very Type A, so it’s very weird for me to be hands-off.” Tutera reassured her by affirming the strength of his team and the clarity of their plan in concert with PartySlate.
When discussing potential rain plans Tutera suggested fun peach and ivory umbrellas and chic, color-coordinated rain boots, saying that the backup plan announces, “This bride has been on the front lines and has been ready for anything that comes her way, and she’s not going to let a little rain stop her from marrying the person she loves.” Ultimately, the wedding became a tented celebration, protecting the couple and their family from the elements as well as adding a chic touch.
Bride Andrea expressed, “My bachelorette party was postponed and my wedding was postponed — all of the things I was looking forward to, I no longer have which is sad because that’s what usually gets me through the long days at work, and I especially need them during this time.” David Tutera and PartySlate are so proud and happy to have given Andrea and Ethan a version of their dream wedding. As Tutera said as he welcomed virtual guests to the couple’s wedding, “We are creating something we’ve never done before — and the most important thing is to create something memorable, not just for the two of them as a couple, but also for their family and friends.”
For guests, the anticipation began with beautifully-designed print and virtual invitations from Dogwood Blossom Stationery, who also provided printed programs, a sign-in book, and more for in-person guests. Virtual event technology allowed Tutera to welcome virtual guests before the ceremony began.
On June 27, Andrea and Ethan’s beautiful nuptials unfolded, combining gorgeous in-person design and inclusive virtual elements. The ceremony and intimate reception were attended in-person by a small number of family and friends, via Zoom for those unable to be present because of COVID-19 restrictions, and on Facebook Live for those who followed their story and wanted to share their joy (which numbered over a thousand of “guests” from around the world).
The couple chose a rectangular wedding arch adorned with blooms from Butterfly Floral & Event Design to frame them as they recited their moving vows. The intimate collection of in-person guests were socially-distanced under the tent and seated at tables for two during the ceremony and the reception. The tables were decked in peach linen and adorned with gold chargers, custom menus, and beautiful summer florals. ONEHOPE Vineyards — with their mission to support worthwhile causes to create a worldwide impact — donated wine and bubbly for Andrea and Ethan’s happy day.
Lace masks in the couple’s peach color story and sleek black masks were provided to guests for additional safety. In addition, SoBelle Favors sent everyone home with gorgeous custom chocolate favors. Meanwhile, the talented photographers from With Love and Embers captured Andrea and Ethan’s special day and the video team from Impressive Creations Wedding Cinematography is hard at work on a beautiful video keepsake for the couple.
Weddings amid a pandemic aren’t easy to plan and execute, but they affirm that love must continue. In his welcome to virtual guests, Tutera said, “The importance of celebrating life and love is something we cannot stop.”
Bride Andrea said after her wedding, “The greatest surprise to come out of this whole experience was realizing that I did not need to have 200 people surrounding me to have the wedding of my dreams. With the help of David, we were able to transform our backyard into a magical fairytale venue, and with just our immediate family we were able to have the best day ever. I also loved, loved, loved that people who would not have originally been included in the guest list due to number restrictions, were still able to participate virtually and witness the best day of my life. When the pandemic had canceled our original plans I was devastated, it was amazing how with the help of some flowers and a few cameras I was able to get that magic back.”
Once again, we want to take a moment to honor the event partners who made this dream wedding a reality by donating services and goods:
Event Planner: David Tutera
Inspiration & Marketing Partner: PartySlate
Photographer: With Love & Embers
Invitations/Graphics: Dogwood Blossom Stationery
Florals/Arch: Butterfly Floral & Event Design
Custom Chocolate Favors: SoBelle Favors
Videographer: Impressive Creations
Tux: Friar Tux
Wine: ONEHOPE Vineyard